A Rematch Of Consequence As Pride Works On The U.s.
A Rematch of Consequence as Pride Works on the U.S.
By Derek Callahan
In another move for Pride’s campaign in the United States, Wanderlei Silva (31-6-1) and Dan Henderson (21-5) will rematch at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on February 24th.
Silva has been fighting professionally for over ten years now, and has become so popular in Japan that he has developed a cult status among casual American fans. They know about those brutal knees that he delivers with intense efficiency, and they recognize the intimidating style he has used to become Pride’s first and longest running middleweight champion. He’s been defeated once at 205-pounds since he first won the title in 2001, losing only to Ricardo Arona in August of 2005. He has beaten heavyweights and 205-pounders, and discarded of almost every challenger that has come his way. His credentials, in a word, are unquestionable.
Enter Dan Henderson, just as tough and in his own way as brutal as Silva. Nicknamed "Hollywood," maybe for the irony, there isn’t much that’s flashy about the guy. He fights steadier than perhaps anyone else in the game, looking better against Yuki Kondo when he had the flu in 2004 than most do healthy. If it’s a 170-pound champion or Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, sometimes it’s tough to tell if Henderson notices. He fights like he always does, with flashes of toughness that few are able to express. His credentials, in a word, are unquestionable.
With the exception of Fedor Emelianenko, there is no undisputed man on top in MMA. There are too many ways to lose and too few opportunities to fight handpicked opponents at one’s will. With this being the case, criteria for greatness isn’t who has a title now, or who is on a hot streak. Longevity is what separates the fleeting trends from the actual talent. Both a decade deep into the sport, they have together been two of the steadiest names that a fan could imagine. Even though they both seemed unstoppable in 2000 when they first fought, it’s six years later and both still sometimes do.
The consequences of this fight make those of most others pale, because although right now both have lost their share of fights and taken the black and bluer end of a beating, it’s been a rare and difficult thing to do. With this fight, fans are going to know a lot more about who the best ever is than they would in a fight with newer contenders.
What it should also do is give Pride an exciting fight for their second U.S. campaign. The UFC is — with a firm grip on TV ratings and a prolific schedule ahead — ready to strengthen their stranglehold on the U.S. market, and while Pride has been a powerful company over the past 10 years since their first show in 1997, they are in a new market now with new challenges, and a new demographic to cater to. Fights like Silva taking on Henderson will go a long way to introduce Pride to the U.S. in a memorable way.
That means giving fans excitement from two fighters who have the skills to nullify each other’s strengths and the guts to keep fighting in the face of it. While Silva has been known for the vicious stoppage, Henderson too has always been increasingly dangerous because of his punches. His right hand has been tricky for fighters to figure out, partly in the beginning because they didn’t expect to see it coming.
When it wasn’t the focus of his gameplan, Henderson’s balance, superior positioning and wrestling acumen was enough to get him past tricky submission experts (Allan Goes, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira), superior strikers (Renato Sobral, Murilo Rua) and well-rounded opponents (Murilo Bustamante twice, Vitor Belfort).
The ledger that both men boast is absurdly difficult. For Silva, it has gotten the better of him lately with losses to Ricardo Arona (later avenged) and Mirko Filipovic at Pride’s "Final Conflict" last September. "The Axe Murderer" is 2-2 in his last four, the worst streak he’s had since his days in Brazil in 1997. Still, it is apparent that there is never a good time to fight the man.
When they last met, Henderson got the worse of the striking end, but was game enough to leave an enormous lump over Silva’s eye. It was a back-and-forth effort that saw Silva earn the decision.
With such similar careers after that, fighting up in weight and winning against the vast majority of their competition, these are two that can pique the interest of all types of fans. It’s a match-up that will be good for Pride and better for the winner. A decade of winning with amazing consistency will clash from the two fighters and lay a historical imprint on the careers of both.
Marquardt Dominates Lister at UFN 8 to Entrench Claim as Middleweight Contender
By Kelsey Mowatt
It was a fight that many haven’t yet seen, a bout between two well accomplished and notable middleweights, Dean Lister and Nate Marquardt, which unfortunately wasn’t included on last Thursday’s live broadcast of Ultimate Fight Night 8 on Spike TV. In fact, when one considers that the match-up featured an Abu Dhabi champion and Pride veteran in Lister taking on a former King of Pancrase in Marquardt, the make up for the middleweight fight was rather compelling. In the end, however, it was Marquardt who dominated the submission grappling wonder Dean Lister throughout three rounds of the under card bout, earning his 6th victory in a row. An impressive win, that should no doubt leave Marquardt within striking distance of a middleweight title shot.
Marquardt looked to keep the fight standing throughout the three rounds of the fight, and for the vast majority of the bout, the 27 year old fighter was successful in doing so. Peppering Lister with a barreling right hand and nicely timed knees that dropped the Pride veteran on a couple of occasions, Marquardt opted to remain standing for the most part, only pursuing Lister on the ground when it appeared his foe was considerably stunned. Lister demonstrated a remarkably strong chin in fact, recovering well from Marquardt’s strikes that stemmed from a dramatically superior stand up game.
The damage Marquardt inflicted while standing prompted Lister to shoot in several times on the former King of Pancrase, and when Marquardt would sprawl, Lister did a nice job of switching to his back, adeptly pulling Marquardt into his infamous guard. From there, Marquardt carefully monitored and defended Lister’s movements within his rubber guard, and never did it appear that any real submission threat was near. Referee John McCarthy consistently stood the action back up whenever the movement on the mat stalled for several seconds, and Lister’s efforts to keep the fight on the ground were largely unsuccessful.
As the third round neared its end, there was little questioning that Marquardt should be well ahead on the judge’s scorecards, and the official announcement of the judge’s scoring after the fight, confirmed this prediction. Marquardt was given the unanimous decision victory with a 30-27, 30-25, 30-25, score, indeed reflecting the Team Jackson fighter’s dominance that evening.
Now the question remains to see who the UFC puts Marquardt up against next. His recent UFN performance against Lister, should, at least, momentarily, give his critics moments to pause, who have categorized his previous efforts in the UFC as conservative and less than entertaining. Marquardt has now gone 4-0 competing in the MMA titan, defeating Ivan Salaverry, Joe Doerksen and Crafton Wallace since he came to the UFC in the summer of 2005. The fighter’s record now stands at 25-6-2, which includes two victories over last year’s Pride Welterweight Grand-Prix winner, Kazuo Misaki.
When one surveys the state of the UFC middleweight division, there should be little doubt now that with this recent win over Lister, Marquardt could be one or two victories away from a title shot. The upcoming UFC 67 card on February 3rd will determine if Travis Lutter will be the next UFC Middleweight Champion, or if current champ, Anderson Silva, will defend his title for the first time. Certainly the winner of the March 3rd fight between Jason Macdonald and former champion Rich Franklin will go a long way to determine the contender rankings in the division, and one would be remiss not to mention Mike Swick, Yushin Okami, or Kendall Grove, when discussing the future title shot picture.
But when one looks at Marquardt’s record and the caliber of opposition he’s beaten, the fighter certainly could give any of the above mentioned fighters a competitive fight. One need only look at the progression of Marquardt’s teammates like Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine and Diego Sanchez, to remember that underestimating any of Team Jackson’s fighters would be a terrible mistake.
Untamed 9 Results
By Derek Constable – Photos by Zack Lynch
(January 26th, Mansfield, Massachusetts) It was a night of both amateur and professional mixed martial arts action as Full Force Productions’ ninth edition of their "Untamed" event touched down in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Promoters Mike True, Mike Littlefield and Mike Varner put together a card that had the Holiday Inn’s ballroom packed, and the fights did not disappoint. Highlights of the evening included: